Former Professor Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges
GALVESTON, Texas – A 47-year-old Galveston man formerly employed at Texas A&M University has pleaded guilty to one count each of receipt and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Matthew Irwin was employed as an associate professor for Texas A&M Galveston at the time of his arrest. He had come to the attention of law enforcement after investigators found evidence he was accessing files from a website known to contain child pornography.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence on Aug. 6, 2015, at which time they seized a laptop and various external storage media devices. The forensic examination revealed more than 4,000 images and two videos of clearly young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These movies and images included children under the age of 12 engaged in acts of violence. Some of the images are of known victims as identified through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Irwin admitted he downloaded child pornography from the Internet, thereby receiving and possessing the child pornography found on his computer and external storage media.
Irwin appeared before U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. today and pleaded guilty to the charges. Sentencing has been set for June 1, 2016, at which time Irwin faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years imprisonment for the receipt of child pornography as well as a maximum of 10 years on the possession charge. He also faces a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He was permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Pearland Police Department.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ann Leo, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."